Government consulting on rental legislation; tenancy rights and domestic violence

Thu 30 Aug 2018

The Government is undertaking a targeted reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA). The RTA is the main legislation related to the ...

The Government is undertaking a targeted reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA). The RTA is the main legislation related to the contract and interactions between residential landlords and tenants.

The reform is focused on:

  • "Tenancy Agreements
  • Termination provisions
  • Tenant and landlord responsibilities
  • Tenants’ ability to make reasonable modifications and keep pets
  • Rent increase provisions
  • Boarding Houses
  • Enforcement mechanisms."

Currently, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is consulting on several proposed changes to the RTA. To provide information about the consultation, MBIE has published the following:

You can give feedback by:

The deadline for submitting feedback is 21 October 2018.

For more information see the Consultation on Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

Renting rights for victims of domestic and family violence

In Australia, a number of states and territories have introduced legislation to provide additional tenancy rights for victims of domestic and family violence. Some of the protections for victims include:

  • terminating a tenancy early with proof domestic violence 
  • changing names on a lease 
  • changing the locks 
  • speaking with the landlord without the perpetrator 
  • changing how the bond is refunded
  • managing how victims are impacted when perpetrators cause damage to the home.

In Victoria, the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 includes protections for victims. More recently, the Victoria State Government reviewed their Residential Tenancies Act. The issues paper and options paper includes considerations of family violence. In August 2018 the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018 was introduced which includes protections related to family violence.

In Tasmania, legislation to amend the amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act has been introduced in August 2018, taking into consideration family violence.

In Western Australia, the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2018 was introduced into Parliament in May 2018.

In 2015, South Australia passed the Residential Tenancies (Domestic Violence Protections) Amendment Act.

See the media links below for legislative work in other Australian states.

Further information on homelessness and violence

Domestic violence is a major driver of women's homelessness. Once homeless, women and their children can also be at higher risk of experiencing further violence or returning to violent partners. 

For more information about the links between violence and homelessness see:


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has taken over this work. In November 2019, the Government introduced the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 in response. Submissions are now open on the proposed legislation until 25 March 2020.

Selected media

CPAG welcomes Govt announcement of tenancy law review, Child Poverty Action Group News, 28.08.2018

Government to make life better for renters, Beehive Press Release, 27.08.2018

Vic rent reforms finally go to parliament, Nine News (Australia), 05.08.2018

'Policy in limbo': Delays with NSW domestic violence tenancy laws, Sydney Morning Herald, 04.03.2018

Queensland tenancy laws 'ineffective' for victims of domestic violence, Brisbane Times, 18.12.2017

Rental shortage in Hamilton is impacting on victims of family violence, Hamilton News, 14.07.2017

Housing shortage forces women back to abuse, Waikato Times, 13.07.2017

Domestic violence victims given the power to terminate rental contracts early, Sydney Morning Herald, 04.07.2016

Image: Pixabay

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